The Quinault Indian Nation, Grays Harbor County Marine Resources Committee, Nature Conservancy and state Department of Natural Resources will survey and remove creosote-treated pilings from Grays Harbor as part of a $100,000 restoration grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program.
Project partners will match the awarded grant with an additional $100,000 for future restoration work and conducting a survey of Grays Harbor using GPS software. The survey data will be used to produce a comprehensive map of the harbor, helping prioritize piling removal in the future. DNR is providing the majority of the matched funds, along with a $25,000 grant from the Department of Ecology Coastal Protection Fund which will be used to remove 160 creosote pilings on Damon Point later this summer.
The initial survey for creosote-treated pilings, which damage the environment and pose a health threat to people, will take place on July 17 and 18.
The Grays Harbor Marine Resource Committee works to find marine related projects along the coast that bring stakeholders together to work for common goals. The Quinault Indian Nation received the $100,000 grant to detect and remove derelict fishing gear in Grays Harbor, including the removal of nets and crab pots in the mainstream of the Chehalis and Quinault Rivers.
The health of the Quinault River, Grays Harbor, and neighboring watersheds are critical to the Quinault Indian Nation, said Joe Schumaker, a technical representative for the Quinault Tribe. In Grays Harbor the Chehalis and Humptulips Rivers support some of the largest salmon runs in Washington, second only to the Columbia.
“The treaty fisheries resources that support the cultural and economic well-being of Quinault tribal members depend upon healthy watersheds and estuaries,” he said. “This project, supported by the NOAA Marine Debris Program, will make significant gains towards eliminating hazards to fish and their habitat from chemically treated pilings and lost fishing gear.”